Call for papers: Panel “Semiotics of Religion: Religion in the Semiosphere” at the International Congress “Juri Lotman’s Semiosphere” (25-28 February 2022, Tallinn & Tartu, Estonia)

The multipart panel is intended to be a platform for presenting and discussing papers related explicitly to the topic of religion with reference to the legacy of Juri Lotman. Lotman’s works belongs among the classics of 20th century semiotics. His published materials arguably represent a unified and distinct paradigm or approach to semiotics in the theoretical space where currently the most influential trajectories are inspired by the legacies of Charles Sanders Peirce and Ferdinand de Saussure. The context of studying and reflecting religions, where an engagement with Lotman’s work has taken place less, mirrors this state of affairs. In particular, Lotman’s later oeuvre has received little attention in the fields of the scientific, theological and philosophical study of religion. This is at least partly due to the fact that Lotman’s work has delayed availability in English. Monographs such as Universe of the Mind. A Semiotic Theory of Culture (2000 [1994]), The Unpredictable Workings of Culture (2013 [1990-1992]), Culture and Explosion (2009 [1992]) and numerous articles published in Culture, Memory and History. Essays in Cultural Semiotics (2019) as well as Culture and Communication: Signs in Flux. An Anthology of Major and Lesser-Known Works (2020) are still waiting to be discovered and evaluated for their possible significance to the research and thinking related with the field of religions. Arguably, Lotman’s semiotics of culture opens up a view on religion that underscores the value and relevance of different disciplinary approaches to religion and highlights their dialogue as a never-ending task.

We welcome papers from scholars in semiotics, religious studies, theology, philosophy, and cultural studies etc. on topics related to religion. Papers are expected to involve an explicit reference to the intellectual legacy of Juri Lotman in the sense of exploring, demonstrating or questioning its significance for the research on and thinking about religion in the 21th century.

We invite proposals for presentations (20 minutes + 10 minutes for discussion). They should include author’s name, institutional affiliation and academic status, email address, title of submission and abstract (ca 250 words), a maximum of six keywords, and a short biography (max 100 word). A template for proposals can be downloaded at the conference webpage.

The organizers of the congress are planning to publish thematically selected and peer-reviewed papers of the congress in various publications, including Sign Systems Studies (University of Tartu Press), Bibliotheca Lotmaniana (Tallinn University Press) and Лотмановский сборник (Moscow, OGI Publishing House).

Deadline for submissions for the panel on semiotics of religion: 10 May 2021

Please send your proposal to (Thomas-Andreas Põder)

For more information regarding the panel contact

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